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Matisyahu's "Miracle"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jewish rapper Matisyahu rose to fame with his 2004 religious hit, "King Without a Crown." But yesterday, he released a beardless photo of himself, and this statement on his website: "No more Chassidic reggae superstar.” Before his eight-night run of Hanukkah concerts kicks off next week, Matisyahu stops by to talk about his new look - and to talk about holiday music, including the video for his newly released EP, called “Miracle.”

Matisyahu's Festival of Light tour stops at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Dec. 19, 20 and 21 and at Webster Hall on Dec. 22. More info here.



Comments [51]

Ryan Toups

I love your music man!! and am a proud follower of Israel!
The truth is clear bro, Psalm 119:142 "Your righteousness is righteousness forever and your TORAH is truth"
Its all about Hashem bro! Not religion at all...

Shalom and be blessed man!

Dec. 24 2011 06:20 PM
mauricio salgado from colombia

what we see is not what God sees, the brush used to paint you can not see, therefore we can not change, our blessing does not depend on our looks or our concept, the blessing depends on the LOVE of God. .. there are things that we paint ourselves as telling God that should and should not be painted, the most important is in our souls, not about who is most close to God, about who is more receiver to the love of God ... He is everywhere and with everyone ....
what made it interesting looking matisyahu food for your soul, not his knowledge, the contradiction is that some want to be with God ... while someone does not want to be but will be .... someone takes 1 hour to organize rituals, and another takes 1 minute to kneel and pray .... someone spends all day praying for a solution, and another looking for the solution pray all day, persistence is not replaced by prayer or prayer for persistence, so I think a balance is not talking about a balance between love and hate ... rather a balance in love, to meet those who hate and rescue.
and I apologize for grammar, my native language is Spanish

Dec. 21 2011 03:47 PM
dboy from NYC


Please, do enlighten us... braugh.

Dec. 21 2011 01:47 PM

Anyone who thinks dreads are a cultural legacy belonging only to Africans needs a history lesson. Anyone accusing others of "stealing" culture by choosing a particular hair style is weak and phobic. Be STRONG on your own terms and don't worry about others looks.

Dec. 20 2011 05:54 PM

... white boy appropriation of black cultural icons and symbols is a form of imperialism.

Dec. 16 2011 03:10 PM


Dreadlocks are a cultural and religious expression with African origins, not a fashion statement. To co-opt someones' cultural and religious expressions is disrespectful. It diminishes the place and peoples where said expression comes from - plain and simple.

Jame Brown's choice to straighten his hair is a a choice of style in the same way that a white boy's/girl's choice to get a permanent is a style choice - neither violates anyones cultural heritage. Unless, of course, you can site a culture that has the corner on straight hair or curly hair.

Whiteboys/girls should think about their silly fashion statements before co-opting someone else's culture.

Dec. 16 2011 02:48 PM

@Avrohom Becker from Brooklyn,N.Y.



Dec. 16 2011 02:30 PM

Prince changed his name to a symbol. Madonna has changed her persona back-and-forth many times. Matthew Miller "changed" his name to Matisyahu, which means Matthew. So, not really a change... yet a major change.

Whether Matisyahu wears a beard really only has relevance to the Hasidic community, his sense of his faith, and maybe to God (but probably not).

Is it too cynical to note that he cut his beard a few weeks after his EP dropped and just before his tour starts? In show business, nothing's sacred. Even sacred things.

Dec. 15 2011 11:01 PM
Avrohom Becker from Brooklyn,N.Y.

Why does a father desire to get married,have children,and raise a family?

You could give reasons such as,love,etc,
In essence,it's because he knows that he is an undefined piece of G-D,an essential part of the whole universe,and he wants to express it.
It's within your very essence and being that you are an essential part of the whole universe,that you are a part of G-D himself.
Therefore,the desire to know G-D is something that you are born with.
The father expresses this essence,through his children.

The difference between a Jew and the rest of creation,is that a Jew automatically is connected to G-D'S essence.
A Jews role is to shine that essence down to the rest of the world,to show the world by example,what it means to be G-Dly,which is to have faith in G-D,because you don't control your circumstances.

But just because we're chosen does'nt mean that we shouldn't treat gentiles with respect,and those who don't are not acting Jewish.
It's through gentiles that we reveal G-D'S essence.
How are we supposed to shine G-D'S light down,by belittling the same people that their supposed to be a good example for?

Dec. 15 2011 08:52 PM
Avrohom Becker from Brooklyn,N.Y.

While it's true that G-D'S mercy is'nt limited to having a beard,G-D still chose it as a channel to represent and express his divine mercy.

However,I am not judging him.
He is a part of me and we're all a part of G-d.

Here is what I wrote about this subject.

Sure the details of Judaism are necessary,but we can't get too lost in those details,and forget what the foundation is all about.

We got the concepts,delved into the details,applied those details to our own unique view and understanding,fit our understanding to the rest of the worlds understanding,fit our pieces of the puzzle together with all the others.

Now it's time to put it all together,to find out the bigger picture,the foundation which keeps it all together.
The foundation is beyond the concept and the details.
You're not going to find what keeps it all together,you're not going to solve the puzzle,from the just the concept,or just the details.
It requires you to view it from outside view,from the view of the creator.

The world is now in this stage.

(1)A Jew is not just someone who's been chosen by G-D to show the world who he is,by example.(Concept)
You don't know what somebody is,based on there fathers choice to have a child.

Although,at 1'st,that's what it had to look like.
Nobody starts a relationship without 1'st being seperate from one another.
This results in feeling attracted to your opposite.
This results in choosing to get to know them better,choosing to be complete.

The choice was only for our sake,so we could relate.
If G-D did'nt give us something to relate to him,such as taking us out of Egypt,why would we care?
Our relationship was really beyond that attraction,but couldn't become revealed to us without choice.

(2)A Jew is not just someone who keeps all the laws down to it's greatest stringencies(Details)
You don't know who somebody is based on there looks,behavior,character,etc.
Thats only there to describe the person,to make them unique,to enhance there relationship.
A person is unique because,if everyone were the same and knew everything,it would leave no room for anybody else.
However,in essence,we're all the same,we're all one and united.

(3)A Jew is'nt someone who's just there to complete the whole picture either.
You don't know who somebody is based on what they add to everyone else.
That's only who they are in relation to the world,but what about they're relation to the creator?

(4)So what is a Jew?

A Jews is a revelation of G-D'S essence.

we are G-D'S children,a piece of G-D himself.
Not as G-D relates to the universe,but G-D himself.

What is G-D'S essence?
The revelation of himself,as he is,completely undefined.

Before all the details,before the choice,there was pure desire.

Why the desire?

G-D desired to express his essence,because that's who he is.

G-D knew so to speak,that he is undefined,knew that he exists beyond reason,so he wanted to express it.

This is accomplished through the Jewish people.

Dec. 15 2011 08:50 PM
Shaul David from Gush Etzion, Israel

you think its' the hair on your head- that make your dread agon dread-
BUT it's the heart within--
for rasta no live in sin...

Rasta no pickpocket-
lee perry produced... ???

Dec. 15 2011 03:07 PM
bernard from savannah ga

our g -d will blesse you with or with outthe beard so lite everyknow tha our blessed is with you and he shem

Dec. 15 2011 01:32 PM
Teen from Russia

Is there any beard or not - for me it doesn't matter anything. If Matis finds it right it means that it is right for him now. The only thing I know that it is not the beard singing and talking.
But there is a thing that confuse me much more - the phrase "No more Chassidic reggae superstar." Reggae vibes of Matis helps me when life becomes really hard and when I hear his music I feel his soul's flying in it. Those times I really want to make myself shake off the dust and finally arise. And it's sad that maybe I will never hear any new hasidic reggae prayers or even never hear the old ones in live concerts of Matis. I was never really into reggae and jewish culture earlier but he took me into these magical worlds. And now I think - does Matis still believe in things he has once sung?
This interview shows that he does and I'm not arfaid anymore. If he doesn't want to sing reggae - it is also his right because without his wish there won't be soul anymore.
Please, don't let some modern music tendentions take you out of the endless University where you are in the harmony with G-d and where we, listeners, can silently look at your melodic dialogue with Him. Your message echoes in thousands of souls and points us the right way, the way of self knowledge and eternal searchings. Hope that everything is alright.

Dec. 15 2011 12:36 PM
KIm from Indiana

This gentleman is not at all confused. He stongly believes that God's flowing mercy does not require a beard. Thank goodness, the women on the world would never get any mercy.

Dec. 15 2011 09:42 AM
Rivkah Bergman from Tiveria Israel

It's what's in your Neshomah that counts
not in your beard. Payos is a requirement covering the bone!

Dec. 15 2011 07:08 AM

yes, goddess eve.........oh.......GMAB...

Dec. 15 2011 04:31 AM
eva from brooklyn

Judaism is complex, nuanced and inctricate. if he doesn't know the reason why the beard matters, it is not a difficult matter to find out. we are not a religion that discourages questions. and yes there are differences in halachic opinion, but he doesn't seem to be following any halachic authority, he is playing it by ear, based on no jewish reason at all, just based on what he feels like. that is not serving G-od, that is serving self.

Dec. 15 2011 01:56 AM

some of your comments out here, really make me wonder,where the hell humanity is at? [to use the street vernacular]. you folk are creepy,,,,,,,sorry,that's the way i see it.

Dec. 15 2011 12:46 AM
fayga from Isreal

There is a story about a Holocaust survivor who knew the Satmar Rebbe before the Holocaust and came to visit the him in America. The Rebbe’s students saw a clean-shaven Jew speaking about all sorts of Torah subjects with the Rebbe and were surprised.

After he left, one of the students asked the Rebbe: who is this clean-shaven person who came to speak with the Rebbe?

The Satmar Rebbe responded: "When that Jew ascends to give a divine accounting, Hashem will ask him: "Jew, where is your beard?" But when you ascend to give a divine accounting, Hashem will ask you: "Beard, where is your Jew?"

This story i think would would help and explain alot. In life we move a lot change a lot. But it's important not loose our values and what's important to us. Matis i get the feeling you never really settled down and mabey you still havn't. But as we one there is more then one path to Hashem and mabey you'r still on the road finding the one that works for you. Good luck with everything and the most importent is and the end of the day to ebe a yid who's shomer torah v'mitzvohas

Dec. 15 2011 12:27 AM

some changes, are a personal evolution,and, if they are, or are not "confused",that is between him, and his inner soul,and none of our business to judge from the outside. at least,let us salute someone, who is struggling with their definition of morality and spiritual discipline. the greatest harm in the world, is done by those addicted to their certainty.

Dec. 14 2011 11:32 PM
chassidic fan from Brooklyn

Matisyahu ....could you please address the twitter where you write about your massage given to you by a woman. I am not a hater at all...there are many men out there that can do that. Halacha does not allow that.
How about the s...word on your twitter account. Kids follow your twitter account. What could they possibly be learning from that?

Dec. 14 2011 11:10 PM
Amir from Toronto

He is a confused soul. It is really saddening to see a human being jump from one thing to another in search of themselves. Its sad. And as crazy as this may sound, I find it offensive that a hassidic jew question the rules of his own religion. I can't explain why, but I have always looked at hassidic Jews as having a closer tie to god, and seeing someone go from close observance to doubt is painful to see. He seems lost, and trying to grasp onto anything that will help him get through his own anxieties. Good luck Matisyahu...until he changes his name to Fred.

Dec. 14 2011 10:57 PM

The Baal Shem Tov was a man who searched. He is considered the ultimate chassid. Keep on searching Matisyahu. Uncertainty is the only thing that makes sense.

Dec. 14 2011 09:54 PM
eileen fried

Still sounds confused and unclear. You can't pick and choose, adhere, abandon..based on "instincts". We don't base our lives on instincts. We have a Torah and rules to follow. It's not about fears..
So does that mean that tomorrow his "instincts" will tell him that it's ok to abandon a myriad of other things that are important to maintain a level of observance?
You got to know where you belong...
I think he is still trying to figure it out.

Dec. 14 2011 09:42 PM
ishmael from bronx

"Beser a YID on a BOAD vi a Bord on a YID."
"Better a Jew with out a beard than a beard without a Jew" -- a Proverb

Dec. 14 2011 08:21 PM

Right on Matisyahu! Shalom!

Dec. 14 2011 07:12 PM
Pacey from Virginia

what an iconoclastic heartbreaker

Dec. 14 2011 06:35 PM
stuart from NYC

matisyahu is the REAL DEAL - a humble, searching, spiritual, musical person.

we need more people like him in the public eye!!!

keep it up...

Dec. 14 2011 04:40 PM

@ dboy- so, would you call james brown, fake,because he straightened out his hair ? your logic escapes me...

Dec. 14 2011 03:10 PM

@Jane from Rockaway

As authentic as whiteboy dreads, anywhere!

Dec. 14 2011 02:52 PM
Jayne from brooklyn

Matis is a very sweet human being with his heart in the right place. So what, he hasn't yet found his exact in the religious world! Seems he is the same religious as before - in the main. This is a really nice person.

Dec. 14 2011 02:49 PM
Barbara LIfton from New York CIty

Why don't you play serious music composed and performed by serious classical Jewish composers and musicians?
Anyone there ever heard of Solomon Rossi, a classical composer of the Renaissance who lived in an Italian ghetto? His music was as good as Gluck's and Handel's! I know, because I sang it!
Or serious Israeli composers such as Marc Lavery and Naomi Shemer?
I am SICK of hearing nothing by Yiddish and Hebrew mediocre folk music or Klezmer! Or Hebrew language music composed by Leonard Bernstein, such as the Chichester Psalms? How about it Sound CHeck?
Barbara Lifton.

Dec. 14 2011 02:36 PM
natan from Boro Park from Boro Park

Dear Matis;
I love your songs and wish you the best.

Please be aware that you are high profile person and your actions affect many!
Many who are posting negative comments are NOT hateful! Quite the opposite! It could be shock of loved ones who feel (betrayed?) they need to caution our youth that Mat's destiny is to reach out (way out?), but not for the chassidic crowd.

Hey Mat! Very few can do what you do and many cannot follow your journey without getting hurt.
Dear Mat; please be aware that when you reach down to bring someone up, you need to be careful not to be pulled down!
Hashem should bentch you with divine guidance in finding long-lost souls and bringing them back.
Let us all grant the benefit of the doubt towards each other.

I don't know but I got to go on the road where nobody goes....

Dec. 14 2011 02:30 PM

the dude is an artist, does he not have a right to assume the modes of other cultures ? since when is a person obligated to be any one thing,as an individual or performer.

Dec. 14 2011 02:30 PM

hard-core-secularism, is it's own religion. and who is anyone, to tell someone else how to live. i don't care for most organized religion,but i know very good people, who are into that way of being in the world. i don't understand the antipathy to ritual. why do we assume that it's only for primitive or closed minded people. i think thats a bunch of propoganda,that comes right out of the cult of secular-materialism,again,another "religion",that assumes it is "all knowing"... thats' just rank BS...

Dec. 14 2011 02:25 PM
Jane from Rockaway

This guy sounds anything but authentic. Whats up with the dreads and fakey Jamaican accent?

Dec. 14 2011 02:22 PM
True Hip Hop from Westchester

Ask him about how religious he was when he was smoking blunts and having sex with girls at parties in HS in WP. This guy is a clown. You want real hip hop? Let's hear from GFK, MF Doom or Madlib. Not this guy because he managed to get himself played on the radio. He should be honest

Dec. 14 2011 02:22 PM


Dec. 14 2011 02:20 PM

@Shandra from LES, Jennifer from Brooklyn & joshie from brooklyn:

REAL good points!!

Less religion. More brains!!

Dec. 14 2011 02:20 PM
akivah from usa

זמר יווני לא פסק מפומי' , וזה הי' סבת 'אחר' שיצא ר"ל למינות וע"ש ... דעצם הדבר דזמר יוני לא פסק מפומי' גרם לתורתו של אחר לצאת מגדר קדושה ה' ירחם עלינו
חגיגה טו

אחר and matisyahu sharing the same faith

Dec. 14 2011 02:20 PM
Rebecca from Morristown, NJ

Love the comment that his true religion is the NY Giants! Way to keep it real Matis.

Dec. 14 2011 02:19 PM

B"H Still love ya regardless!! The beard doesn't make the man. :) Keep spreading the Shalom!!

Dec. 14 2011 02:17 PM

As much as i dont have a beard, what is the distinction between saying what in kaballa is ludicrous and that which is in halacha is ludicrous?
eg we are told to keep shabbat, is that also ludicrous?

Dec. 14 2011 02:16 PM
Jennifer from Brooklyn

If he realizes that it's ridiculous to not shave in order to receive God's grace, does this also mean that he'll stop shunning women by not making eye contact or shaking hands in order to receive God's grace?

Dec. 14 2011 02:16 PM
joshie from brooklyn

amazing how he finds the beard ludicrous but dipping in a ritual bath (mikvah, like he says he did this morning) as sane...hopefully this is just the start and he will join all intelligent people in being completely secular and abandon all superstition

Dec. 14 2011 02:15 PM
Jake from NYC

Matis, As Morgan Heritage sang, YOU DON'T HAFFI DREAD TO BE RASTA!

Dec. 14 2011 02:13 PM
Shaun from Louisville

No jew gets out there like he does and inpacts religious Jews, secular Jews and non Jews alike with the Torah. Esp for my Generation. He is doing a huge Kiddush Hashem!

Dec. 14 2011 01:52 PM

The track nor the video are new...they've been out since last December (2010)...

Dec. 14 2011 12:26 PM

wow - can't wait to hear how his justifies this - i guess he is creating a life of balance. KUDOS!

Dec. 14 2011 12:13 PM

some of us might care. why not hear him,before dismissing him. what's to be gained by that ?

Dec. 14 2011 12:12 PM
Shandra from LES

Who cares.

Dec. 14 2011 11:47 AM

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